The Performance

At Susan Singer’s Beyond Barbie, presented by the Chesterfield County Domestic and Sexual Violence Resource Center and Domestic Violence Task Force, I read excerpts from my blog along with other writers, dancers, poets and musicians in a celebration of the strength of women to creatively heal and empower. The documentary producer who with her camera crew was filming the performance asked me to stay and answer more questions to follow up an interview in November as a model for Susan. Everyone had left but the producer, the camera woman and I.

Following the interview, emotionally spent, alone, I walked to my car feeling very hollow. I welcomed the cool breeze in the residual warmth of the night. In the middle of the parking lot I paused, and looked up at the star filled sky, breathing deeply to decompress the intensity of the night. Then, as though I had just discovered something, a sudden revelation I was shocked to learn, I remembered with acute anguish. My husband shot me. My children’s father, my intimate professor of love, my soulmate wannabe looked into my eyes, and he shot me. And he kept shooting me.

I continued walking, unlocked the door and sat in my car in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn, with these words flooding my head.

the performance

I am an oddity
A freak show at a carnival
An unusual deformity
This woman wonder
This curiosity
Caged beauty
On view here today
Come on in
Touch her wounds
Hear the pain
Watch the transformation
of this emerging butterfly
Hear her gripping tale
of defying the odds
Watch as she walks the tightrope
suspended between then and now
dangerously traversing with no safety net below
She will make you laugh
Make you cry
Bring you to your knees
Your jaw will drop at the incomprehension
as you cover your mouth in shock
You will love her
You will hate the part of you she is
She loves
She laughs
She mourns
She bleeds
She mesmerizes with her prose.
Watch as she exchanges energy,
leaves the audience breathless and silent
Step right up and get your tickets here
So rare – one of the few left in the world
Here for a limited time only
Cmon folks, catch her while you can
See if she makes it to the other side
Watch her rattle against the chains that bind her,
break free and walk out
This rarity
This one woman show
This solitary ghost
This spirit on loan
Come on in
(c) ldj  14apr2012

At times it is very difficult to grasp my survival. As grateful as I am, beyond words, it is at the same time difficult to live with. All that has happened, and the girl I was before any of it lost forever. It is the quiet hours that still prove most challenging. I continue piecing together these fragments to create my life, meanwhile still seeking solace and escape to a place where it doesn’t exist.

It is a fight with an invisible enemy, punching into the darkness to keep it at bay.

About Lisette d. Johnson

Murder-Suicide Survivor, Mom, Writer, Speaker, Serial Volunteer in the Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Arena, Entrepreneur, &amp Friend. I survived, my kids survived, and I am here to tell the story.
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2 Responses to The Performance

  1. Susan Payne says:

    We will never be the same, never.
    The girl is lost,
    the trust gone,
    the self-image shattered.

    It remains public as long as we are public with it – it will always be private, whether the scars are physical and face us in the mirror or whether they are in our psyche or both… in our eyes, our wrinkles, our memories, our hands, our yearnings, our fears, our everything.

    Our girls saw it all, probably before we did. They knew it, they heard it, they saw us slipping away, they see it now in how we move on…do we dwell, do we stay there forever reliving or do we pass it and grow forward, forward, forward.

  2. ME says:

    I always go to a place I once read this….”we live in a broken world. Inside us there beats a heart that has been broken more times than we’d care to remember. But there will always be someone to help us pick up the shattered pieces and begin the process of repair. Sometime with glue, sometimes with love, and sometimes with miracles. Always with god.”

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